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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Jean-Pierre Pernaut, France's favourite continuity announcer - sorry, news anchor - and Euro 2012

Whatever you might think of the French football team's behaviour during and just after Euro 2012, one thing's for sure.

Each and every player was under close(r) media scrutiny especially after those infamous events in the disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa back in 2010.

Their gestures, comments and reaction were interpreted and analysed to the  nth degree and unfortunately the performance on the pitch didn't really live up to most commentators' expectations.

Or perhaps it did.

There was the usual (so far) fruitless polemic (the French just love that word) which seems to have been as short-lived as the team's campaign, but will doubtless rear its in the not-too-distant future as the former manager, Laurent Blanc is made a scapegoat for all the teams woes and unbridled hope is invested in his successor.

Overpaid, spoilt brats, ill-educated, lack of team spirit: all descriptions used and lapped up by the media to report the story of Les Bleus.

Heck the team and Samir Nasri's exploits in particular, even made the front cover of one paper not usually given to following the feats of national sporting teams.

The far-right weekly Minute running with a photograph of Nasri and the headline, "They've once again tainted the blue jersey."
Samir Nasri makes front cover of Minute

Set aside for a moment your personal views on their behaviour as reported in much of the press. You would hope and think that the main television and radio bulletins would manage to report the facts, accurately and  without necessarily commenting on them.

Leave that to the experts and the specialists hey? Those from whom you would expect and welcome in-depth analysis.

Aha. But that's not taking into account the talents of one of the country's leading news readers to share with viewers what he surely considers the benefit of his opinion.

Who else but Jean-Pierre Pernaut.

Jean-Pierre Pernaut (screenshot TF1 news)

He presents the weekday lunchtime news on TF1 and is described in his Wikipedia entry (so it MUST be right) as a "news reader and broadcaster" (no mention of journalist) who "combines an avuncular (great word that) personality and authoritative delivery (really?)" that has made him one of France's most popular news readers."

There's little doubt that his "show" - because that's what the lunchtime new tends to be focussing as it does on fluffier, regional pieces rather than hard news -  attracts viewers and has an appeal.

That might say more about what the French enjoy as they digest their meals and it's definitely an approach which Pernaut has nurtured and encouraged during his 20 years + tenure and in his role as editor-in-chief.

Objective, balanced and unbiased journalism though are characteristics which often fail as he sees fit to comment - albeit briefly - on the events, clips and reports he's introducing.

Yep, Pernaut, who let's face it is nothing more than a very high profile continuity announcer (or in French terms an up-to-date version of that emblematic figure of television in its early days here - the Speakerine" only in the male form so without the "e"), has a penchant for sharing what he thinks about a story.

And that's exactly what he did once again this past week when reporting the result of the previous night's quarterfinal between Italy and England, with the Italians qualifying for the semis.

Pernaut managed, in his own inimitable style to pass his wonderfully arrogant judgement as an "informed" sports reporter on the French team's behaviour.

He didn't turn round and say straight out what he thought.

That would have been unprofessional. Tut, tut.

Oh no, Pernaut - his own-editor-in-chief remember so ultimately answerable to...himself, was far more snarky than that.

 "It was a great game between two teams proud to carry the colours of their nation," he said  about the Italy- England game.

"That makes a change," he added.

And he followed that up later in the report when referring to the Italian players' decision not to lay claim to the match bonuses with, "Fortunately there are countries where players have  education and good manners!"

So there you have it.

Jean-Pierre Pernaut, 62 years old (with hair apparently looking as though it's  couple of decades younger) and at the helm of the lunchtime news since 1988, once again proving there's nothing like objectivity in journalism and still a place for an opinionated Speakerin on French telly.

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